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NUT to hold strike ballot after the election over cuts

Schoolchildren could face disruption before the end of the year after teachers voted for a post-election ballot on national strikes over education funding cuts. Delegates at the National Union of Teachers annual conference in Harrogate backed a resolution effectively giving the next government a six-month deadline to come up with a fresh plan to protect school spending, or face industrial action, including walkouts.

NUT to hold strike ballot after the election over cuts Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

They warned that the looming funding cuts currently faced by schools and colleges will damage pupils' education, lead to job losses and hit teachers' pay, pensions and workload.

Squaddies prepare for Everest challenge at Leeds Beckett University

A team of British soldiers are being put through their paces by sport scientists at Leeds Beckett University as they prepare to attempt to climb the North Face of Everest.

The north face of Everest

A team of six regular and reserves serving soldiers, along with their team medic, will depart from the UK in April to attempt the feat.

As part of their preparations for the conditions that they will face, they are taking part in a research study led by Leeds Beckett PhD student, Mark Cooke, and supervised by Dr John O'Hara, Reader in Sport and Exercise Physiology, and Visiting Professor Lt. Col. David Woods.

The University experts are putting the team through a pre-acclimation protocol, allowing the expedition team to experience and acclimatise to the physiological challenges of climbing at a high altitude.

The aim of the research is to enhance the likelihood of the team reaching the top of Mount Everest.

"At high altitude, pulmonary diffusion and oxygen transportation are limited, meaning the body is in a state of oxygen deficiency.

"The body tries to compensate for this, and through acclimatisation, this situation can be improved.

"However, at extreme altitudes such as on Mount Everest, the body cannot completely compensate, which makes such a challenge very hard and potentially life threatening.

"Therefore, we hope that this training prior to the expedition will help them acclimatise more effectively whilst on the mountain and enhance their performance.

" In conjunction with outdoor activity specialists Carnegie Great Outdoors, we have a strong history of working with military expeditions in preparing for such challenges and feel strongly that this research will assist them in summiting Mount Everest."

– Dr John O'Hara, Leeds Beckett University

During the training, the Army team are spending prolonged periods of time each day in the University's environmental chamber, which simulates high altitude conditions through the manipulation of the fraction of inspired oxygen at sea level.

The scientists will be testing the team both before and after the training to measure effectiveness of the pre-acclimation protocol, as well as assessing the effectiveness of the training on the expedition.

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Sir Patrick Stewart to step down as Chancellor of Huddersfield University

Sir Patrick Stewart has announced he will step down as Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield.

Credit: Press Association

The actor, born in Mirfield, has held the position at the institution for 12 years.

He regularly presided over events such as graduation ceremonies, often leading processions through the streets, wearing his Chancellor’s robes. He also met large numbers of students and staff and acted as an overseas ambassador for the University of Huddersfield during his travels and on official visits to destinations, such as Hong Kong and China.

It is expected that Sir Patrick will step down as Chancellor after this summer’s graduation ceremonies, but as yet there is no news of a successor.

I am extremely proud of the University of Huddersfield and all it has achieved. Although I am standing down from my role as Chancellor you can be sure I will still be taking every opportunity to talk about the University and I look forward to continuing to meet Huddersfield graduates around the world.

– Sir Patrick Stewart

Yorkshire schools invited to donate books to South African children

Schools in Yorkshire are being invited to donate books to schools in rural parts of South Africa, as part of a competition to learn about farming in the country.

The 2015 Help a South African School competition asks children in years 1 through to 11 to learn about fruit farming and the difference it makes to the lives of families in South Africa, and to produce a collage of their learnings. There are two top prizes of £1,000 for winning schools. Schools are asked to submit their entry alongside a donation of used books.

Schoolchildren transform tree into work of art

A group of schoolchildren from Sheffield have created a decorative bench from a tree which had to be chopped down because it was damaging pavements. The pupils at Anns Grove Primary School teamed up with chainsaw sculptor Lorraine Botterill to transform the trunk. It was part of Sheffield's Big Boulder Music and Arts Festival. The bench now sits in Heeley Park, where the festival took place, as a lasting memento of the tree and for local people to admire and enjoy.

New lease of life for Tropical World

Tropical World in Leeds has reopened after a one point five million pound refurbishment.

The attraction at Roundhay Park has been made more environmentally friendly and features a new aquarium and reptile enclosure. It has been created in the style of a South American tropical rainforest. The improvements have been partly funded by the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Charitable Foundation, set up by the family which helped pay for the original development.

Leeds City councillor Mark Dobson says the investment has given the attraction a new lease of life.

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